Walking For Health
Walking is one of the most practised and loved forms of exercises. All age groups do it and is another wonderful form of stress relief.
Walking for health is a great way to de-stress. Walking truly is a great form of exercise: you don’t need to have any special equipment to do it and by getting outside you help to reduce the levels of your stress significantly and improve your health.
The Benefits of Walking For Health
Some of the benefits walking for health as shown by the Ramblers Walking Association in the UK are as follows:
• It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and of having strokes
• Helps to lower blood pressure
• Reduces body fat
• Enhances mental well being
• Helps to control body weight
• Helps flexibility and co-ordination
(SourceDavison & Grant 1993, US Dept of Health 1996, British Heart Foundation 2000)
Why Do Walking For Health?
Simple, by getting outside you are able to change perspective so it really helps the mental aspect of stress.
When we are face to face with a problem sometimes it is difficult to see a solution. By stepping out of the office or the house we are able to step back.
By walking we allow ourselves to get back into the body.
A large reason for stress is the mind factor. We lose perspective in the mind and stress builds.
We think problems are bigger than they are. Stress relief with walking allow us to step away from the problem. Even for a 10 minute walk around the block, we see things more clearly.
Going for a walk helps to combat this as we allow ourselves to inhabit the body instead of the mind!
When I lived in the monastery I went for a walk every day. Living and working in the same environment meant that I wanted to get outside and get back in the body.
A lot of my work in the monastery was mind based so I found it so helpful getting out for a walk once a day.
The abbot really emphasised the importance of walking and I found it very beneficial.
When things were very challenging I stopped what I was doing and went for a walk. Sometimes a very long walk!
But whenever I came back I always felt less stressed and felt that stress relief with walking was a really wonderful way of de-stressing.
Fitting a walk into our daily lives
How often do you go for a walk? How often do you get outside and breathe the fresh air?
I feel that it is really important to get outside for a walk once a day.
How do we fit ‘a walk’ into our daily, busy lives?
Where in the day can we walk instead of taking the car? When can we find time to take a 5 minute walking break?
Some suggestions are as follows:
• Walk your kids to school instead of driving. You benefit yourself and your kids.
• Take a break at work and go for a walk outside. Most smokers go outside for a 10 minute smoke so why can’t non-smokers go for a little walk? This is what I do twice a day.
• Go for a gentle walk after dinner. This helps digestion as well as stress.
• Find time on your day off to go for a long walk in the countryside.
• Walk or cycle to work instead of driving. Or take the train so you have to walk more.
• Go for a walk in your lunch break. Take a 20 minute stroll to the local park and then have your lunch there.
• Get your friends and family involved too. Ask them out for a walk in the countryside. By asking and involving others, you help yourself to keep motivated.
5 Wonderful Things about Walking For Health
• It’s great for your body
• It’s possible to walk any where
• It’s possible to walk at any time
• It’s great for your mind
• It’s wonderful for your friendships and relationships by walking with those you care about.
So find some time to walk. It really is worth the effort in the long run.